We reckon you’ve probably been told time and again to make great content.
But, as far as you’re concerned, your content’s already the best you can possibly produce and – sadly – it isn’t generating the volumes of traffic you were hoping for.
Or, worse, your content is attracting an impressive number of visitors but your analytical data is showing people accessing your website from a number of different countries and territories.
The latter is one of the most frustrating experiences you can have as a site owner. You feel like you’ve finally found your voice, but you’re finding it hard to market your content to the right audience.
But don’t worry; there are some simple solutions available that can improve the overall quality of your content and its marketing strategy in one fell swoop.
The answer? Think more like a journalist as opposed to a content producer and marketer.
Aren’t journalism and SEO natural enemies?
Journalism and search marketing have had an uneasy relationship at best over the years, but things are improving.
But that strain relates more to publishing houses that have networks of journalists, struggling to monetise the content they produce.
The BBC, for instance, announced in 2009 that they were going to start optimising their content to increase their stories’ search presence. The pair need each other, though they aren’t willing to admit it.
For the business, agency and site owner that produces their own in-house content though, it’s actually pretty easy to think like a journalist.
The most basic and important skill to learn is the five W’s: Who, What, When, Where, and Why?
Keep those five W’s close to you at all times and you’ll start to see areas in your content that can be improved as you create and share it.
Don’t believe us? Here are three easy journalism tips to keep in mind when producing content for your brand:
1: Keep asking questions to find an original angle
Consider this. Something important happens in your industry and you desperately want to write about it before all your competitors jump on the bandwagon.
Let’s say, for example, that a key supplier is announcing an amazing new product that you’re looking to sell through your website.
A number of other competitors are going to be selling it, too, and are also racing to get the news out first.
Stop and wait.
Within the day you’ll see a number of news-style posts appearing, all of which are likely to contain the same information – especially if they’re rewriting product specifications from a single press release that’s been distributed across a number of outlets.
Instead, pick out the most important pieces of information and ask yourself those all-important five W’s.
The product itself: who has it been aimed for and why? What makes it worth buying? When will it be available? Where is it being manufactured?
Once you’ve found answers to those questions, dig a little bit deeper and ask a few more. When will it be available… is there any way I can get access to it earlier than my competitors and write up a first-hand account of how it works?
Why is the product being aimed at that specific market… is it competing for buyers’ attention from similar products? What’s the closest product to it currently on the market? Why not write a guide listing five of those products and how this new one might be better?
The best way to get another angle on something when producing content is simple. Keep asking questions!
2: Produce content around your target audience
As a content producer you may feel under huge pressure to create something impossible. Something that sets the world alight and goes viral across the web.
Don’t set out to do more than you can possibly achieve, especially if you’re a smaller business.
Of course ambition is important, but cultivating a core audience is critical to long-term success.
Let’s continue with the above example, but this time, focusing entirely on the ‘who’ question.
Who is the product aimed for? Who is most likely to buy it? Who has bought similar products in the past?
Once you find your answers then search for community sites and social media pages and profiles to learn more about the people that are actually interested in the product, are likely to buy it and have bought similar ones before.
Delve a little bit deeper and discover the kinds of networks and forums they’re making posts on. Are they communicating with others about the product? What’s their general opinion?
Reading is just as important as writing and other factors when producing content. The more you read, the better informed you are when deciding how to pitch and promote your content to a target audience.
Once you have an idea of what your potential customers are saying about the items and products you’re selling, use it to your advantage. Produce content with that audience in mind, to attract their interest and encourage them to visit your site to learn more about what you can provide.
And, once done, don’t discard those networks for ever more. Cultivate them and become a presence on them. Share your content on them, and become a real relevance in your field.
3: Take those skills to the next level to produce original content
So now you’ve learnt two key journalistic skills – asking questions and producing sharable content with your target audience in mind.
It’ll take a bit of time to perfect those skills, but once those basics have been mastered, then there’s really nothing to stop you from creating fantastic content that covers various angles from existing news sources.
Sharing that content with the audience you have uncovered should give you the right kind of traffic boost you crave.
But why stop there?
Now that you’re asking the right kinds of questions and interacting with the type of people you want to visit your site, then why not go a step further and produce an exclusive piece of content that they simply can’t find anywhere else?
Keep asking those questions, but at different levels. Keep that product we’ve been talking about in mind – who’s producing it, building it and bringing it to market?
Get in touch with the distributors. Is it possible to ask the creator of the product a couple of questions, and ask them what their long-term vision is for it? Can you ask them who, what, when, where, and why?
Or, why not interview a marketing expert in a different field about the long-term viability of the product? Ask them for their opinion and share it amongst your new audience.
Follow that up by creating a community of your own on a forum. Post an exclusive interview and start a discussion about it on your site, inviting your followers and fans to post their thoughts and opinions to keep them coming back for more.
Maybe your site doesn’t sell products and instead exists to provide a service. If so then the above principles still apply – just substitute the product example for the service your company provides.
“Whatever your website provides, asking the right types of journalistic questions will always be the best way to produce the right kinds of original quality content for your audience.”